Delhi, September, 2018 – The countdown has begun for the announcement of the highest and the most distinguished award of the country given by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for research and outstanding contributions in science and technology. The much coveted Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) Prizes for the year 2018 will be announced by the Director General (DG), CSIR on 26 September 2018, the CSIR Foundation Day. The prize comprises an amount of five lakh rupees, a plaque and a citation. The recipients also receive an honorarium of fifteen thousand rupees per month till she/he attains the age of 65 years.
India’s Foremost Science and Technology Award,
Each year new Advisory Committees are constituted to decide the winners. A rigorous and stringent procedure has been instituted wherein the extensive pro forma and study/research papers of nominees are reviewed by seven advisory committees, one for each discipline, based on contributions made through work done in India during the five years preceding the year of the prize. On receipt of nominations for a particular year, CSIR circulates the detailed statement of work and attainments of each candidate to all members of the Advisory Committee related to the concerned discipline. CSIR convenes meetings of the various Advisory Committees for selecting the recipients of the SSB Prizes.
The Bhatnagar Awardees have acquired a unique status among the scientific community and serve as role models for younger scientists. Over the years the SSB awardees have been conferred with numerous national and international recognitions, including fellowships of learned academies and societies. Of the 39 scientists of Indian origin, who obtained their tertiary-level education from India and have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society (FRS), London since the inception of the Bhatnagar Award, 23 are Bhatnagar Awardees, says the survey led by Dr Inderpal Singh, Principal Scientist at CSIR in Current Science, a journal published by Indian Academy of Sciences. Another survey in Current Science conducted by Dr Singh shows that out of 452 scientists recognized by NAS as foreign associates, 15 are from India and 14 of these luminaries are recipients of the Bhatnagar Prize. He said that winners of SSB prize are more likely to get international recognitions, as witnessed in the prestigious TWAS prize, which is ranked among the highest scientific accolades bestowed on outstanding scientists in developing countries. Of 62 Indian recipients of the TWAS prize from 1985 to 2016, 48 are recipients of the SSB prize. The recognition of excellence through Bhatnagar Award acts as a catalyst in motivating the scientists to pursue world-class research, which may lead to national and international recognitions
The journey of 60 years of the award with its detailed nomination paper work, stringent selection procedure and fairness of the members of the Selection Committees, who ensure high standards of excellence as criterion for selection has made the award what it is- the topmost in its league, not just in the country, but also in international scientific circles. They have slowly acquired the reputation of being the Indian Nobel Prize and are greatly coveted amongst the medical and scientific fraternity alike.
The SSB awards are named after the founder Director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and given in seven disciplines namely biology, chemistry, earth-atmosphere-ocean-planetary sciences, engineering, mathematics, medicine and physics. The awards are given away by the Prime Minister of India post the announcement. Nominations are invited every year from the 1st of January to the 31st of March. A candidate once nominated is considered for a total period of three years provided they continue to stay in India and do not cross the age limit of 45 years of age.